Posted by: atowhee | April 24, 2015


Klamath Basin, CA & OR:goose bankGreater White-fronted Geese, just passing through, line the bank of a canal in Lower Klamath NWR.  Like summer visitors to Le Plage. GOOSE GRP (1280x960) GOOSE GRP2 (1280x960) GOOSE GRP3 (1280x960) GOOSE GRP4 (1280x960)Gooseberry jam is popular among many with a sweet tooth.  A goose jam requires a much more finely attuned aesthetic sense.  Definitely not for the heavy of foot. GOOSE JAM (1280x960) ONE snogo (1280x960)  snogo eatzGOOE SWARMZ (1280x960) goose lineP2430207 (1280x960)This is the only white goose that we could identify as a Ross’s.  A far away snow bank could only be determined to contain geese sp.WHIT GOOSE (1280x960) WHITE GEESE (1280x960)The geese were abundant on both sides of Stateline Road in the Lower Klamath NWR.  No swans lingering that we could see.  Ducks galore, both dabblers and divers.

Klamath Basin-Hwy 97, Klamath, US-OR
Apr 23, 2015.  24 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  X
Gadwall (Anas strepera)  X
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  X
Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca)  X
Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)  X
Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula)  X
Common Merganser (Mergus merganser)  X
Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis)  X
Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)  X
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)  1
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)  1
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  X
American Coot (Fulica americana)  X
Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)  X
Black-billed Magpie (Pica hudsonia)  X
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)  X
Cliff Swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota)  X
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  X
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata)  1
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  X
Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus)  X
Brewer’s Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus)  X
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)  X

Posted by: atowhee | April 24, 2015


I hear there are some humans who have a political or religious faith in The Rapture.  As a more pagan birder I tend toward The Raptor.  Along with three other birders yesterday our prayers were answered as they related to seeing a raptor, or two.  The Klamath Basin and Butte Valley delivered.EAGLESLINED (1280x960)This is an irrigation pivot in an organic field in California’s Butte Valley south of Dorris.  At least ten eagles were on this pivot, probably satiated after eating Belding’s ground squirrels which made the earth seem to heave with activity.  Also present for the feast were dozens of Ravens, Black-billed Magpies, Ring-billed Gulls and various buteos of the season. eagls pivotHere we see a Ferruginous Hawk on the ground with possible snack watching him.  Later this very bird chased a Golden Eagle away from this field.  The buteo looked fragile and bouyant compared to the airship that is a Golden Eagle. FERRU STANDZ (1280x960)This was also in Butte Valley just across the road from the eagle pivot above. FERRU-STARE (1280x960) GE MALE ON RIDGEAbove, male Golden Eagle looks down from his ridge.  Below was his mate with three or two eaglets in their 5 foot wide nest in a cottonwood.  This is in Siskiyou  County in the southern end of the Klamath Basin. GE NEST-SHEEPYOur most unlikely, never-to-be-repeated experience came with a Swainson’s Hawk.  It was on a cross-bar, then its mate joined.  Both watching us but not perturbed.pfal 2gether PFAL LOOKS (1280x960) PFAL-LEFT (1280x960) PFAL-LEFT3 (1280x960)It seemed the right hand bird was bigger as well as darker.  Larger buteo would be the female.  This had to be a mated pair as they do not normally share perch or hunting territory unless they are paired.   PFAL-PAIR1 (1280x960)In this shot the female’s feathers are ruffled by the wind, giving her a “Harpy Eagle” look. PFAL-RIGHT (1280x960)One of several airborne Swainson’s Hawks we saw.  This one on Lower Klamath NWR in Oregon. swains-1 swains2Young Bald Eagle seen in small meadow along southern end of Keno Access Road.BE -SEC.YR (1280x960)Roadside young Red-tail in Lower Klamath NWR, Oregon side of the border. FERRU PST (1280x960) ferru roadsidePeregrine giving us the stare along Township Road. PERE FACD2 (1280x960)

Posted by: atowhee | April 23, 2015


Putnam Point, Klamath Falls.  Two of our four-birder group had never seen dancing grebes before this day.  this ancient ritual always begins with some sedate bowing and curtsies among the pair, or even with three birds in some cases.GRB CRTSHP1 (1280x960)All my photos today were of active Clark’s Grebes. GRB CRTSHP2 (1280x960) GRB CRTSHP3 (1280x960) GRB CRTSHP4 (1280x960) GRB CRTSHP5 (1280x960) GRB CRTSHP6 (1280x960) GRB CRTSHP7 (1280x960) GRB CRTSHP8 (1280x960) GRB CRTSHP10 (1280x960)CL GRB1 (1280x960) CLRK-EYE (1280x960)If you’d like to see the Clarks’ Grebes and other great birds of the Klamath Basin, check out the Mountain Bird Festival based in Ashland.MTBF COLOR LOGOClick here for registrati0n information.

Putnam’s Point, Klamath, US-OR
Apr 23, 2015 11:15 AM – 11:45 AM.  16 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  X
Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis)  X
Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)  X
Eared Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis)  X
Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis)  X
Clark’s Grebe (Aechmophorus clarkii)  X
Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)  X
Great Egret (Ardea alba)  1
American Coot (Fulica americana)  X
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)  X
Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia)  X
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)  X
Cliff Swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota)  X
Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia)  1
Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus)  X

Posted by: atowhee | April 22, 2015


GAD GORGEOUSMale Gadwall at Newbry Park. Northern Rough-winged Swallows. HAW FLOWRS (2)My first salsify flower of the year. HAW FLOWRS (4) HAW FLOWRS (16)Hawthorn. HAW CLUSTRThe most beautiful tree in town…for now.  Pink dogwood. pnk dogwdHAW FLOWRS (65)Band-tails overhead. Willow, the white fuzzy seeds float through the air like snow flakes. Some fall into Bear Creek and may end up on a habitable mudbank or sandbar.  Others may be carried all the way to the pacific at Gold Beach, or simply disintegrate in the water.  Most float some distance on the slightest breeze.  Today small grass clusters wore a boa of white fuzz as the seeds clung together around the plant;s center. HAW FLOWRS (66) This Wrentit sang to get my attention and then fed along the edge of the berry thicket, ignoring the dogs and myself.  This was at Newbry Park along the Greenway. WT-BEST WT-BEST2Here he sings on camera, not such a shy bird after all. WTSINGSHAW FLOWRS (69) HAW FLOWRS (70) HAW FLOWRS (71) HAW FLOWRS (73) HAW FLOWRS (75) RWB CATTAILSHAW FLOWRS (119)This Blue-gray Gnatcatcher was near Emigrant Lake this afternoon and led me around a willow thicket, hardly wanting to pose. HAW FLOWRS (120) HAW FLOWRS (121) HAW FLOWRS (122) HAW FLOWRS (123) HAW FLOWRS (124) HAW FLOWRS (125) HAW FLOWRS (126)

Posted by: atowhee | April 22, 2015


REDWING SING1 (1280x960) REDWING SINGS2 (1280x960)Is there a better, more emblematic vocalist than the Red-winged Blackbird of America?  Surely our marshes are unique in their soundscape as this species is not found elsewhere and there is no equivalent anywhere in the Old World where marshes are quiet, glum places for listeners.

This one was among at least two dozen males performing energetically at the gravel ponds in Newbry Park along the Bear Creek Greenway.

The Redwing BB extends down into Central America but not as far south as Panama.  There is a Redwing in Europe, also a fine singer.  It is a medium-sized member of the thrush family and thus related to our Robin and Europe’s Blackbird and Nightingale.

Posted by: atowhee | April 21, 2015


I watched a western tiger swallowtail in our garden today.  The butterfly went all around our pink lilac.  He ignored the white one adjacent.  I could not detect in difference in fragrance between the two. W-TIGER-ST (1280x960) W-TIGER-ST-SIDE (1280x960)A Crow’s nest built high in a cottonwood near Ashland Pond.  I have seen the crows use all their weight to pull a green branch off a limb for the construction.CROW'S NEST (1280x960)For the first time in two months I heard a Western Screech-Owl outside our house at exactly 2:42 A.M. this  morning.

Posted by: atowhee | April 20, 2015


There was some squabbling around a particular on a hill overlooking Emigrant Lake this afternoon.  An Acorn Woodpecker flew onto the underside of a diagonal limb and begin to enlarge an existing hole.  Quickly a pair of House Wrens appeared an began hissing and fussing.  They were joined by a pair of bluebirds how may be going to use and next box on the opposite side of the same oak.  The Acron seemed to ignore the smaller birds’ upset.  When he finally flew off the quiet returned.  Were the wrens planning on nesting inside that hole?  Why did the bluebirds care?AC-AT-HOL BLUEBRDD

At the south end of the lake there were geese gathered, including a family of Canadas with at least 7 goslings and a passing White-fronted.geese GWF ALONE WTRFOWL GRPNote there’s even a pair of Shoveler here, the only ones I found on the whole lake.

Meanwhile at the pond yesterday, saw my first Western Tanager of the spring and the Evening Grosbeaks consented to fly over my head and land right between me and the sun for almost no camera worth angles…but for one.EG AT AP1 EG AT AP2 lego brite linc turn lincWhen the light is right this bird is bright.  He;s always clever, or course. SCRB BEAUTYSpeaking of bright corvids the Crows are nest building.  They hang onto twigs with their whole wight and finally tear them from a living branch, green the weave better and are flexible.  I think they waited until the cottonwood have leafed out to build their nest which is almost impossible to see even though I know right where it is. spto birite1 spto looks TRTLE

Here are some aerial maneuvers by a master of both air and water, the Osprey:P2420350 (1280x960) P2420351 (1280x960) P2420354 (1280x960) P2420356 (1280x960) P2420357 (1280x960)P2420359 (1280x960) P2420360 (1280x960) P2420362 (1280x960) P2420363 (1280x960) P2420364 (1280x960)

Ashland Pond, Jackson, US-OR
Apr 19, 2015 4:30 PM – 5:15 PM. 23 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  X
Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)  6
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  X
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)  2
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)  1
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)  X
Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus)  X
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  X
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  8
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  X
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)  X
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)  3
House Wren (Troglodytes aedon)  X
Bewick’s Wren (Thryomanes bewickii)  X
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)  3
Lincoln’s Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii)  1
White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys)  1
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  X
Bullock’s Oriole (Icterus bullockii)  1
Lesser Goldfinch (Spinus psaltria)  1
Evening Grosbeak (Coccothraustes vespertinus)  4
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)  X

Emigrant Lake, Jackson, US-OR
Apr 20, 2015 4:15 PM – 5:25 PM.  26 species

Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons)  1
Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  X
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  X
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)  2
Common Merganser (Mergus merganser)  10
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)  2
American Coot (Fulica americana)  1
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)  3
Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna)  1
Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus)  4
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  1
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  8
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  2
Common Raven (Corvus corax)  1
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)  1
House Wren (Troglodytes aedon)  2
Bewick’s Wren (Thryomanes bewickii)  1
Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana)  2
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)  X
Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)  1
Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)  2
Lincoln’s Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii)  1
White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys)  1
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  X
Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus)  1

Posted by: atowhee | April 18, 2015


Ashland Pond, on a perfect spring morning.

The good news: Wood Ducklings once again accompanied by their mom.  Last evening she must have been catching a nap and the little fuzz balls escaped through the nursery window.

The great news: Evening Grosbeaks.  “Grosbeak” can roughly be translated “great schnoz.”  There was a quartet eating the flourescence off the top of an old oak next to the pond.  I watched a few minutes and then they did what finch flocks often do…suddenly ripped off to another outdoor cafe.EG HIDES EG IN OPEN EG MUNCHES EG PROFILE EG-BAC EG-BITES EG-BST1 EG-FEMAIL1 EG-MAIL1 EG-SIDE

Singing birds today included: White-throated Sparrow, Bewick’s Wren, Western Meadowlark, Red-winged Blackbird.  The Black-capped Chickadees have been taking advantage of the early insect bloom.   Today I saw two fledglings nagging their parents for bites of bug as the family of four foraged through the small trees.

Jackson County must’ve gotten a big shipment of House Wrens from the south recently. I had one out at Emigrant Lake yesterday This morning there was one lurking in the thicket at the pond while not far off his aggressive cousin, Mr. Bewick,  was up in the treetops out-singing the Red-winged Blackbird on the next limb.

This Barn Swallow picture was from late yesterday when there were at least two among the swirling Tree Swallows. BARS IN AIRThe White-throated Sparrow sang from cover, but the lingering Golden-crowns all climbed up into the bush tops to listen, it appeared.  Doesn;t this bird look wistful?  Maybe he misses Mt. Rainier and hankers to head north.   GCS GCS-TOOPasser domesticus, being domestic. HOSP AT NEST-BX (1280x881) MYRTLEThrough the limbs: “myrtle” warbler.  And then the Family Wood Duck. WODUX FAMLY

Ashland Pond, Jackson, US-OR
Apr 18, 2015 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM. 28 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  X
Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)  4     mother with young
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  5
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)  1     fly over
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)  2
Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna)  1
Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus)  3
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)  1
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  2
Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri)  3     unusual fly over
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  6
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  3
Common Raven (Corvus corax)  1
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)  40
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  4     adults with two fledglings
House Wren (Troglodytes aedon)  1
Bewick’s Wren (Thryomanes bewickii)  2     singing
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata)  15     at least one Myrtle
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)  3
White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)  1     singing
White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys)  4
Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla)  6
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  X
Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta)  1
Brewer’s Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus)  6
Evening Grosbeak (Coccothraustes vespertinus)  4
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)  X     nesting in nest box

View this checklist online at

Posted by: atowhee | April 17, 2015


A bird flew onto a power line near Emigrant Lake. If it had been perched I wouldn’t have slowed down, assuming it to be another bluebird. But in flight I saw the orange flash of the wings–a Townsend’s Solitaire! By the time I could stop and get out of the car it had flown down into the oak grove. There the motion came from a regiment of siskins eating the oak buds. All the while the resident Oak Titmouse was sounding the alarm, wishing the siskins would go back to the conifer forest where they belong.
An evening visit to Ashland Pond produced an unexpected Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. eBid has iver 740 checklists for the pond and no previous report of a gnatcatcher there.

Sadly I also saw the three Wood Ducklings swimming about by themselves. They were acting properly skittish as they skittered along the pond perimeter. But where was mom? Are they now orphans?amwi reflxAbove: Wivgeon at Emigrant Lake. Below: young Great Horned Owlet peeks over edge of nest.

ghowlet (1280x960)


nfol at owlFlicker checks out owl box. Below Flicker checks out my suet log.

nfol look

rokhatch1 (1280x960)White-breasted Nuthatch on rock, not on a tree turnk or limb.

true blu

Emigrant Lake, Jackson, US-OR
Apr 17, 2015 10:30 AM – 11:50 AM. 33 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) X
American Wigeon (Anas americana) 8
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 60
Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca) 2
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) 3
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) 1
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) 1 adult sitting on nest
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) 1
American Coot (Fulica americana) 3
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) 1
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) X
Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna) 1
Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus) 5
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) 1
Western Kingbird (Tyrannus verticalis) 1
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica) 6
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) 3
Common Raven (Corvus corax) 2
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) 5
Violet-green Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina) 2
Oak Titmouse (Baeolophus inornatus) 1
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) 4
House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) 1 singing at cemtery
Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana) 2 at nest box in cemetery
Townsend’s Solitaire (Myadestes townsendi) 1
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) X
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus) 4
White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) 8
Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla) 2
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) 45
Brewer’s Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus) 2
Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus) 15
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) 2

Ashland Pond, Jackson, US-OR
Apr 17, 2015 4:30 PM – 5:45 PM. 17 species

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)  3     ducklings with no mother visible
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  6
Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus)  1
Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)  1
Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus)  3
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  4
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  3
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)  50
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)  1
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  3
Bushtit (Psaltriparus minimus)  1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea)  1
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)  3
Lincoln’s Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii)  1
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  X
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)  X

Posted by: atowhee | April 17, 2015



“I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.”   — William Butler Yeatsbeeloud1 (1280x960)The blooming vetch was full of bees and butterflies.  It purples the slopes and even the old lakebed at Emigrant Lake. VETCH PATCH VETCH WITH B-FYThe watr is now is higher than it has been in two years.  Some willows that have filled in the lakebed as it exists when the lake is full are now happier than ever.  Their feet are below the water, their limbs in full sun.  Willow wonderland.The vetch was originally brought here for animal food but it is now rampant on the open slopes of the Cascade foothills.

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